Toronto property managers should undergo mould removal to avoid lawsuits

Property managers of condominiums and apartment buildings in Toronto and the Greater Toronto  Area (GTA) could be at risk of being sued because of existing mould or improper mould removal.

Not only are property managers at risk of being sued, but so are building owners, real estate brokers, sellers of buildings and building designers, including architects and engineers.  If a tenant or resident is complaining about mould in their unit but the property manager cannot see or smell it, they should still look into professional mould testing.

Over the years, floods from the units above are common, leading to mould growth that goes unseen behind the walls (or unseen mould under carpeting, behind upholstery, drains, doors, wallpaper, draperies, paint, insulation and ceiling tiles). If a burst pipe or flood does happen, the area should be allowed to dry fully for at least 48 hours and monitored carefully from then on. 

The majority of Toronto apartment buildings (there’s almost 2,000 of them) were built in the 1960s and 1970s – even earlier – and do not have functioning bathroom fans to remove excess humidity and prevent mould growth or have updated HVAC systems that increase ventilation throughout the building and in units – a lack of ventilation is a prime factor in mould growth.  

Mould litigation is a booming industry in both Canada and the United States, and growing every year. For example, one insurance company in the United States reported just 12 toxic mould-related claims in 1999, 499 cases in 2000 and 10,000 in 2001. In 2000 alone, the Government of Ontario gave schools $40 million to clean up mould contamination, while each province has seen their fair share of claims grow every year since.

One 2001 lawsuit reached the $1 million mark for punitive damages at the Supreme Court of Canada.  Having your superintendent go into the unit and spackle over the mould will not do – the mould must be contained and removed and the reasons for mould growth, such as excess moisture or water damage, must be fixed.

How can you prevent costly litigation as a building owner or property manager? By undergoing periodic mould inspections and proper, professional mould removal if it discovered to exist.   

Should you suspect the presence of mould in your home or apartment, Contact GreenStreamEnvironmental.ca – Toronto’s mould removal company – at (416) 818-9414. We can help.

Mould Removal Company serving  Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) including Ajax, Brampton, Etobicoke, Markham, Mississauga, North York, Oshawa, Peel Region, Pickering,  Richmond Hill, Scarborough, Woodbridge ,Vaughan and York Region Ontario.

Residents ordered to vacate condo for months after asbestos is found

After a massive fire that caused an estimated $2.6 million in damage, almost 300 residents living in an Edmonton condominium building have been ordered to leave for at least six months because investigators discovered asbestos in the drywall and ceilings.   A worker soldering a pipe accidentally started the fire, which only damaged two top-floor condominium units. However, the 14 floors below the fire experienced significant water damage because of the firefighting efforts.  

When insurance adjusters began to investigate the damage, they had found that asbestos contained within the building had been disturbed and it would take anywhere from four to six months before the building would be safe to live in again.   Several local community organizations along with the Red Cross have stepped in to help the residents stay warm over the holidays – some of which took to social media to demand more technical information on why they had to be removed from the building instead of the asbestos abatement being done in phases to be less disruptive.

One resident is an architect and says she has experience with asbestos and the problem isn’t a big deal, but the insurance company told the Edmonton Journal that if it were possible to avoid such a disruption they would have gone that route and that the asbestos dangers are real – and serious.

In addition, their work my end up blocking stairwells and creating evacuation issues if there were a fire, which is a major safety hazard.   Asbestos is sometimes called a “land mine” – it poses little danger when left undisturbed and unnoticed in areas of a building or a home where it can’t be touched or accessed. However, as evidenced by the Edmonton condominium fire, accidents can happen that bring the asbestos dangers to the surface.

Home and building owners can save themselves a lot of hassle, headaches and fatal physical health problems – like mesothelioma – by having the asbestos removed by a certified asbestos removal company before it becomes an even bigger problem.

Should you suspect the presence of vermiculite or asbestos in your home or building, Contact GreenStreamEnvironmental.ca – Toronto’s asbestos removal company – at (416) 818-9414.

Vermiculite and Asbestos Removal Company serving  Toronto, Ajax, Brampton, Etobicoke, Markham, Mississauga, North York, Oshawa, Peel Region, Pickering,  Richmond Hill, Scarborough, Woodbridge ,Vaughan and York

Asbestos causes demolition of entire city block

A city block in Brantford, Ontario, a city about an hour southwest of Toronto, was demolished this year because of asbestos concerns. The block is in the middle of downtown Brantford and contains a number of historical buildings that date back to 1840.

Despite a popular opinion that these buildings were so old they predated asbestos use and therefore posed no asbestos dangers, asbestos fibers were still found in pipe wrapping and floor tiles because of so many previous renovations. These types of renovations are extremely common in Canada’s heritage buildings, which usually cannot be demolished by law and are instead renovated and rehabilitated.   It took months for the city to finally be able to demolish the buildings because of repeated interventions by groups attempting to preserve the heritage buildings.  

Few of Canada’s heritage buildings are in the great shape they are in today because they’ve been left alone. Most have been renovated significantly over the years, even decades ago when asbestos was very common in many different types of building materials.   In the case of the Brantford demolition, extra precautions had to be taken to ensure that all of the rubble stayed in place because the demolition site was on top of a hill.

If older buildings are eventually demolished, it is extremely important to use a professional asbestos removal contractor so that asbestos does not contaminate the nearby ground. Many properties across Canada and in the United States have experienced significant problems or construction and development delays because the soil has been found to be contaminated with asbestos.

Should you suspect the presence of vermiculite or asbestos in your home or building, Contact GreenStreamEnvironmental.ca – Toronto’s asbestos removal contractors – at (416) 818-9414.

Vermiculite and Asbestos Removal Services in Toronto, Ajax, Brampton, Etobicoke, Markham, Mississauga, North York, Oshawa, Peel Region, Pickering,  Richmond Hill, Scarborough, Woodbridge ,Vaughan and York

Mould threats don’t disappear once the temperature drops in the GTA

Seasonal allergies tend to take a break in the winter, because weeds, grasses and pollens are either killed off or dormant for the season. Outside, the threat of snow mould remains.  

What is Snow Mould?

Snow mould is a type of fungi that affects nearly all grasses growing in Canada, including residential lawns that are covered in snow for much of the year. If snow melts during the winter during warmer temperatures, this snow mould can present allergy issues.  Those allergic to mould might still experience allergies or respiratory problems indoors throughout the winter months because moulds are not killed by snow or frost and tend to thrive in your home because of the warmth.  Likewise, mould thrives on the dead organic matter that is killed off during the winter months, leading to mould growth “bouncing back” in the spring. 

Inside the home there are risks of mould infestations because just like in the summer, the home is sealed up to prevent expensive heated air from escaping, which traps mould spores inside.   Condensation also builds up in the winter, affecting poorly-insulated or older windows, floors, roofs, pipes and exterior walls.

Excessive condensation  on windows can also contribute to humidity in the home and if this is the case, homeowners should undergo a mould inspection to make sure that this excessive humidity isn’t causing hidden mould growth.  

The long-range weather forecast  in Toronto is calling for a much wetter and warmer winter than normal until January, which means that mould-causing moisture intrusion might be an issue for some homeowners in the coming months. Ensure that this winter is worry-free with a mould inspection.

Should you suspect the presence of vermiculite or asbestos in your home or business, Contact GreenStreamEnvironmental.ca – Toronto’s asbestos removal specialists – at (416) 818-9414.

Vermiculite and Asbestos Removal Services in Toronto, Ajax, Brampton, Etobicoke, Markham, Mississauga, North York, Oshawa, Peel Region, Pickering,  Richmond Hill, Scarborough, Woodbridge ,Vaughan and York

Canadian construction unions, Cancer Society demand asbestos mine closure

According to the Canadian Journal of Commerce, more pressure is being put on the Jeffrey Asbestos Mine in Quebec by construction unions, workplace safety organizations and the Canadian Cancer Society to shut down operations.   The mine is the largest in Canada and supplies asbestos to the developing world.

Asbestos causes lung cancer, chronic lung scarring and other respiratory issues as its fibers are inhaled, which happens when the material is being mined, used in construction or is otherwise disturbed.  

The executive director of the British Columbia and Yukon Territory Building Trades Council said in a statement at a recent trades convention that, “The horrible results of asbestos-related cancers now happening to B.C. construction workers should never be allowed anywhere in the world. The Jeffrey Mine is solely based on exporting deadly asbestos to vulnerable developing countries that have not yet banned asbestos.”  The Jeffrey Mine intends to create 500 jobs over the next 25 years in the small town of Asbestos, Quebec, but the World Health Organization says that 90,000 people worldwide die every year due to asbestos exposure-related causes.  

 Developing countries still use asbestos, but do not have the awareness or handling procedures in place to protect workers, which is why many organizations want the asbestos mine shut down. The mine is currently depending on a bank loan for $58 million to stay open, and the Canadian Cancer Society has formally requested that the government not support the loan and phase out the exportation of asbestos, along with creating a registry of buildings containing asbestos.  

Many older homes in Canada still contain asbestos from when it was widely used in building materials before it was found to be dangerous, and homeowners thinking of renovating should always undergo an asbestos inspection before disturbing materials like ceilings, insulation, tiles, pipes and cement. Asbestos abatement should also only be done by a certified asbestos technician because of the difficulty involved in keeping the asbestos safely contained. 

Should you suspect the presence of vermiculite or asbestos in your home or business, Contact GreenStreamEnvironmental.ca – Toronto’s asbestos removal specialists – at (416) 818-9414.

Vermiculite and Asbestos Removal Services in Toronto, Ajax, Brampton, Etobicoke, Markham, Mississauga, North York, Oshawa, Peel Region, Pickering,  Richmond Hill, Scarborough, Woodbridge ,Vaughan and York

Asbestos exposure deaths are a “pandemic”: report

The Collegium Ramazzini is issuing a repeat call for a ban of asbestos use in a new report published in the 2010 American Journal of Industrial Medicine, because no matter how much asbestos handling is regulated people are still being exposed.  

The Collegium is a group of independent, international scientists based in Italy that assesses workplace and environmental disease risks or injury.   While asbestos is usually associated with respiratory diseases and lung cancers like mesothelioma, the report by the Collegium says that asbestos is also linked to other cancers like breast and ovarian cancer in female workers who are exposed. 

 The report is also calling the deaths from asbestos exposure a “pandemic” and says that if everyone stopped using asbestos today there would be a significant drop in asbestos-related deaths within as little as 20 years. However, the report also says that asbestos may cost the world about 10 million lives before it’s eventually banned.  “To protect the health of all people in the world – industrial workers, construction workers, women and children, now and in future generations – the Collegium Ramazzini calls again today on all countries of the world, as we have repeatedly in the past, to join in the international endeavor to ban all forms of asbestos,” pleads the article.  

According to both Health Canada and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, asbestos removal should only be done by a certified asbestos removal company or contractor. This is because once the dangerous asbestos fibers become airborne, they can be inhaled and pose a significant risk to anyone nearby.

Professional asbestos abatement contractors are trained in asbestos identification and asbestos removal and can safely contain and remove asbestos in residential or commercial properties.

Should you suspect the presence of vermiculite or asbestos in your home or business, Contact GreenStreamEnvironmental.ca – Toronto’s asbestos removal specialists – at (416) 818-9414.

Vermiculite and Asbestos Removal Services in Toronto, Ajax, Brampton, Etobicoke, Markham, Mississauga, North York, Oshawa, Peel Region, Pickering,  Richmond Hill, Scarborough, Woodbridge ,Vaughan and York

Offer may save one of Canada’s two last asbestos mines

In mid-October, an offer was made by an Indian group to save one of Canada’s two remaining asbestos mines. Located in Asbestos, Quebec, the Jeffrey Mine has come close to shutting down because of financial problems and is currently under financial protection.    While extending the life of the mine would save hundreds of jobs, it would continue to allow Canada to be ranked among the top exporters of asbestos in the world, a material that kills 90,000 people worldwide every single year according to the World Health Organization.

Asbestos fibers are inhaled when the material is disturbed – such as during the mining or construction process – and this can lead to a number of different respiratory ailments including chronic lung scarring and mesothelioma, which is a deadly and aggressive form of lung cancer.

Canada exports its asbestos to primarily developing countries, the largest consumer of which is India.   The Jeffrey mine is over 130 years old, and this new offer would add another 25 years to its production. This summer, the government of Quebec was poised to offer the mine a $58 million loan, but has not yet decided whether it would provide it.   According to various news outlets, the offer is the talk of the town. In many cases, whole families depend on the mine for a living. However, it takes decades for the health effects of asbestos exposure to show up, and in some instances only a day of exposure has been blamed for the development of mesothelioma.

The cases of mesothelioma are on the rise across Canada as miners and construction workers who were exposed to asbestos materials between 20 and 30 years ago are just now being diagnosed.

Should you suspect the presence of asbestos in your home or business, Contact GreenStreamEnvironmental.ca – Toronto’s asbestos removal specialists – at (416) 818-9414.

Asbestos Removal in Toronto, Ajax, Brampton, Etobicoke, Markham, Mississauga, North York, Oshawa, Peel Region, Pickering,  Richmond Hill, Scarborough, Woodbridge ,Vaughan and York Region Ontario.

Legislation may pass to remove obstacles in the way of banning asbestos

Despite killing over 90,000 people worldwide each and every year, asbestos is still mined in developed countries (such as Canada, the United States, and Russia) and shipped to other countries (including India and China) for use as a building material without employing strict asbestos handling safeguards.

There are many different uses for asbestos that are still permitted by law, such as gaskets, roofing felt, floor tile, asbestos cement shingles, clothing and pipe wrap.

The Toxic Substances Control Act was enacted in the United States in the mid 1970s, but it provides the Environmental Protection Agency with an obstacle when it comes to banning asbestos. Even if a chemical or material is obviously dangerous, the EPA can’t do a thing about it if the TSCA deems it “safe”.  Asbestos is “safe” in the United States, only because of all of the handling procedures and safety equipment required by law when asbestos is used. It goes without saying that the same measures that make asbestos “safe” are not in place all over the world, and even in Canada and the United States, workers and their family members are dying because of the transfer of asbestos dust from the workplace to the home.

Earlier this year, the Senator of New Jersey introduced a completely new act that if passed, will essentially overhaul the TSCA. The new act is called the Safe Chemicals Act and will empower the EPA with regards to determining just how dangerous a chemical or material really is. If it’s suspected or known to cause harm, or if as in the case of asbestos is proven to be dangerous, they will have the ability to “fast track” changes to ban them. As of the beginning of September, the new act has been read twice and is before the Environment and Public Works Committee. If this Act creates asbestos progress in the United States, it may be safe to assume that Canada will soon follow suit. However, the passing of Acts like this take time, and the number of products asbestos can be found in makes it that much more important to have it removed safely in the meantime.

Asbestos Removal Contractors in Toronto, Ajax, Brampton, Etobicoke, Markham, Mississauga, North York, Oshawa, Peel Region, Pickering,  Richmond Hill, Scarborough, Woodbridge ,Vaughan and York Region Ontario.

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Summer construction at school buildings may lead to asbestos and lead hazards

It’s not uncommon for school buildings in the Greater Toronto Area to be 50 years of age or more, and some of Toronto’s schools make their home in heritage buildings such as certain parts of the University of Toronto.  

Over the course of the summer when school’s out, many school boards take the opportunity to complete extensive renovations, maintenance or other construction that normally can’t be done when school is in session. As a result, building materials originally used in the construction of these buildings – some containing lead, mould and asbestos – can be disturbed and negatively impact the building’s indoor air quality.  

These aging buildings often contain such materials, which can cause lung cancer and respiratory problems in the case of asbestos and impede brain development in the very young, as in the case of lead.

Asbestos has been found in schools across the United States leading to widely publicized asbestos remediation measures, and even more recently the beginning steps of asbestos removal operations have been established in Ontario – as nearby as Hamilton – and at Quebec Schools.

In one Australian case, asbestos was found buried all over their school’s playing fields and a painstaking remediation is currently underway.   An indoor air quality (IAQ) test can help school property managers and school boards determine if the building’s occupants will be exposed to various illness-causing contaminants or healthy, clean air when school starts up again in the fall.

Teachers should also be aware of signs the school air might not be healthy, such as a musty odour or dust on the floors and desks, leading to an unsafe working environment.  

Should you suspect the presence of asbestos in your home or business, Contact GreenStreamEnvironmental.ca – Toronto’s asbestos removal specialists – at (416) 818-9414.

Asbestos Removal in Toronto, Ajax, Brampton, Etobicoke, Markham, Mississauga, North York, Oshawa, Peel Region, Pickering,  Richmond Hill, Scarborough, Woodbridge ,Vaughan and York Region Ontario.

Canadian cancer walk cancelled to support asbestos mine

 The Canadian Cancer Society recently applauded the Canadian government’s decision to ban cigarillos, small cigars sold as singles that come in candy and fruit flavours that are geared towards kids. The Canadian Cancer Society has also done their best to try and prevent youth from tanning in tanning beds, which can cause skin cancer. Many things can be attributed to their influence over the government, like the no smoking within three meters rule that’s employed near most public buildings. 

So why is it when they protest a lung-cancer causing mine, no one seems to listen?

It’s not only the Canadian Cancer Society, but the Canadian Health Association, the Quebec Public Health Association and the Canadian Medical Association that have made their concerns over the mine quite clear.   The mine, located in Quebec, is due to receive $58 million from the government in order to renew their operations and secure jobs at the mine.

What they’re mining is asbestos, which is proven to cause a deadly form of lung cancer called Mesothelioma along with other fatal health problems. Asbestos use is prohibited in Canada, but we export it to third-world countries that don’t have the same asbestos awareness or safety regulations in place.  

The town of Asbestos in Quebec, where the mine calls home, recently cancelled a cancer fundraiser in order to show their support for the mine. Yes, that’s correct. In order to express their support for the mine, they had to cancel a cancer walk that would raise money for cancer research.  

The government has not made a clear decision yet over whether the $58 million loan will be given to the mine, but the Canadian Cancer Society has been called “bold” for interfering with the decision by asking the government to just let the mine die already.  If the mine continues operation it will export asbestos to nations that have little to no regulations for its safe handling and put them at risk for developing fatal illnesses that Canadian miners, construction workers and home and building owners have been dealing with decades after their initial exposure to asbestos.

Should you suspect the presence of vermiculite or asbestos in your home or business, Contact GreenStreamEnvironmental.ca – Toronto’s asbestos removal specialists – at (416) 818-9414.

Vermiculite and Asbestos Removal Services in Toronto, Ajax, Brampton, Etobicoke, Markham, Mississauga, North York, Oshawa, Peel Region, Pickering,  Richmond Hill, Scarborough, Woodbridge ,Vaughan and York Region Ontario.